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Wallflowers #1

Secrets of a Summer Night

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Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands . . . no matter what it takes.

Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.

Annabelle is determined to resist Simon's wicked propositions, but she can't deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle's courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.

384 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 26, 2004

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About the author

Lisa Kleypas

108 books28.4k followers
LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,870 reviews
May 25, 2017
4.5 I love you Dammit Stars


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“You…you mustn’t stare at me like that.” Soft as the murmur was, he caught it. “With you here, nothing else is worth looking at.” -Annabelle and Simon

I love Lisa Kleypas! Now a little while back I bought the whole Hathaways series for 4.00 and it was my first taste of Lisa Kleypas. I fell madly in love with all the Hathaways and when I finished that series I went to goodreads to find more books by LK to read. That was when I found out that The Wallflower series is connected to the Hathaway series and was suppose to be read first. Oops. Of course I went out to every book store I know and found the whole Wallflowers series for a 1.00 each. It was such a good buy! I enjoyed Secrets Of A Summer Night!!! It was everything I love about LK's books. Annabelle and Simon's story was so very sweet.

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“Let me spoil you,” he whispered. “Let me take care of you. You’ve never had anyone to lean on, have you? I’ve got strong shoulders, Annabelle.”-Simon

Annabelle took me a bit to warm up to. At first I wanted to shake Annabelle because she was so snobby and full of self importance. I hated the way she looked down at Simon like he wasn't good enough for her just because he wasn't peer. But slowly she realized that she was a prejudice snob and that Simon was great. And as she grew as a person she grew on me as well. I ended up loving her. She turned out to be a brave, sweet, and loyal. Simon omg Simon!!!! He was amazing and made the book for me. I love a man that knows what he wants and goes for it. I got that in spades with Simon. He seen Annabelle and he set out to have her. Period! He went after her like a lion going for a gazelle. Simon was sexy, sweet, honest to the point of rude at times, possessive, and confident. I loved how he slowly broke down all Annabelle's walls and worked his way into her heart. He could see the wonderful person she was underneath. I also loved that he seen her worth when all the other men seen a broke woman they could take a vantage of. But the thing that melted my heart was that Simon thought she was sleeping with a man for money and didn't care that she wasn't a virgin he still wanted to marry her and take care of her. Of course she was a virgin he was wrong but the point was it didn't matter to him.

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“I love you, dammit.” She brushed her lips teasingly against his. “How much?” He made a slight sound, as if the soft kiss had affected him intensely. “Without limit. Beyond forever.” “I love you more,”-Simon and Annabelle

Simon and Annabelle's relationship was a slow burn since at first she would snub him. But they had serious passion. I felt they had a great build up to a sweet love. It felt real. Simon was so sweet to Annabelle after they were married. He really took care of her and her family. And Annabelle fell hard for her husband. They both had a playful side that was cute. One of my favorite things about this book was the friendship between Annabelle and her fellow Wallflowers Lillian, Daisy, and Evie. They were a funny band of misfits hell bent on finding husbands and helping each other in any way they could. My favorite of the group was Lillian. She was so outspoken and foul mouthed. I loved how her and Earl Westcliff (Marcus) butted heads and took a dislike to each other. There was some major passion burning under all that hate and I can't wait to read their book! This was a sweet, romantic read and I loved it! I only took off a 1/2 star for Annabelle's snobby attitude because I wish she would have changed sooner. Other than that it was perfect! These 2 quotes just sums it up so nicely!! They are my favorite quotes of the whole book!

“I realized something,” she said huskily, “when I was standing outside the foundry, watching it burn and knowing you were inside.” She swallowed hard against the thickness in her throat. “I would rather have died in your arms, Simon, than face a lifetime without you. All those endless years… all those winters, summers… a hundred seasons of wanting you and never having you. Growing old, while you stayed eternally young in my memories.” She bit her lip and shook her head, while her eyes flooded. “I was wrong when I told you that I didn’t know where I belonged. I do. With you, Simon. Nothing matters except being with you. You’re stuck with me forever, and I’ll never listen when you tell me to go.” -Annabelle

“My God, I can’t stand this! I can’t let you go out every day, fearing every minute that something might happen to you, knowing that every ounce of sanity I’ve got left is hinged on your well-being. I can’t feel this way…it’s too strong…oh, hell. I’ll turn into a raving lunatic. I’ll never be of use to anyone again. If I could just reduce it somehow…love you only half this much…I might be able to live with it.”-Simon

Profile Image for Penny Reid.
Author 117 books21k followers
May 3, 2018
The first time I read this book (in 2012) I didn't appreciate it. I'd just plowed through a bunch of historical romances and this one blended in with the crowd.

OMG I WAS SO WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This book is magic. I loved it. A LOT. The push/pull between the two main characters was masterfully done. The tension of Annabelle's circumstances (and Simon's ignorance of her circumstances) was so perfect. I loved both of these characters so much. The perfect blend of tragedy, suspense, humor, romance. This book is (and has) everything. It's basically flawless.
Profile Image for Nicole.
749 reviews1,935 followers
February 17, 2021
The Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas happens BEFORE the Hathaways (Mine Till Midnight) which has more rating than Secrets of a Summer Night. I wanted to read a Kleypas book having heard a lot about her among the fans of this genre. Logically, starting with the most rated book (Devil in Winter has more ratings but that doesn’t count because it’s the THIRD book in a series) is the safest choice. Well, no. It wasn’t.

When I started reading Mine Till Midnight and met a few couples, I had this weird feeling that these people have their own stories… and my guess was right and I got spoiled for Devil in Winter, the book I was looking forward to the most. Especially since the hero was a close friend to the love interest in Mine Till Midight.

Romance spoilers might be trivial but they are still spoilers... So yeah, start with this book if you’re new to Lisa Kleypas.

So about this book, it tells the story of Anabelle, her family is broke, and she is looking for a husband. This is her last season. If she doesn’t, she’ll have to marry a farmer (and God forbids) or become the mistress of a rich duke (better than being a governess, you know?). And Simon. The good-hearted, funny, smart, beautiful Simon. He’s dirty rich but he’s also self-made. Not one of the peers. So ew.

I’m having trouble lately seeing the sparks between couples in many books and I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Then I read an HR and no, it’s not me. Because the chemistry was hot and undeniable in this book. I loved the slow burn romance -and Simon. Definitely, one of my favorites love interests in this genre.

The low point of this book however was Anabelle. They don’t have money left but they still hire a maid and a footman. She or her mom cleaning? What’s that? I didn’t understand how they can still hire people if they can’t pay their debts. She’s very materialistic and cares too much about appearances. She indeed admits her faults at the end while I don’t forgive her completely, but at least she changed her mind about a lot of things. Simon is too good and I don’t understand what he saw in her. But I did like their romance.

Another thing I loved was the wallflowers! Usually, I don’t like romance series -at all. I never continue them. Maybe I will one day when I’m short on books of this genre but not anytime soon. However, I know the next HR I’m going to read will be it happened one…

I believe Kleypas sat up their stage, and the love interests at that, pretty well. It certainly helps that the girls are all likable.

In sum, this was a fun historical romance. I certainly enjoyed reading it. I had a few issues with the heroines but it’s fine, I don’t take these books very seriously. And Simon was the star of this book. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series, especially since I liked the other girls more than Anabelle.

September 25, 2009
Gosh, what a standout start to the Wallflowers series. Simon is a definite hero in pursuit, one of my favorite types. He saw Annabelle and he had to have her. He wasn't always upstanding in the things he said or did, or his motivations. But it didn't help that Annabelle's inbred snobbery caused her to look down at him. Simon is a self-made man. He is very wealthy and his wealth has opened doors for him socially (just barely). The fact that he is a business associate (and friend of Lord Westcliff) does help him to get into this society that he really doesn't care about, except that it allows him to be close to the object of his desire, Annabelle Peyton. But Annabelle has been raised from the cradle to seek a marriage with a gentleman at the least, and a titled one, if entirely possible. Plus I think she is a little intimidated at how intensely Simon seems to want her, and how he is such a strong, vital man (not what she would consider an English gentleman at all). The first half of this book is a bit of a cat and mouse chase, as Simon spends his time hunting down the wary Annabelle.

Can I just say I adored Simon? He is just delicious to me. I love a strong, independent, self-made hero, who doesn't spend his time worrying about what others think. Annabelle came off as kind of mercenary. Yet I found I could not dislike her. She was in desperate straits. I could see why she was so fixated on making a good match. Yet at the same time, I wanted to yell at her, "Hey, Simon is loaded. He's hot. He wants you. Marry him." Let's be honest. I would have been throwing myself at Simon. He's one of my all time favorite LK heroes (top three). Yes I know he's got some ungentlemanly intentions towards Annabelle, but I felt that he would take her any way he could get her.

He shows his love and devotion in many ways. I love the scene when he cares for Annabelle when she gets snakebitten. He totally could have taken advantage of her, but he didn't. And things are getting where she doesn't have the luxury to wait for an honorable offer. Yet he ended up offering marriage, after all. Because he loved her to the depths of his soul. Sigh! And what a good husband he is.

Now after their marriage, I felt some frustration towards Annabelle for her snobbery against Simon's family. I can understand culture shock, but she was married to Simon, and her life had changed permanently. I didn't really see her setting her mind on the fact that she was now a middle class businessman's wife to the degree that I hoped for. She liked the trappings of being a rich man's wife, but didn't like to think about how he made his money or his origins. It took that potentially tragic event for her to snap out of her 'old' thinking mode and see what a wonderful love and life she could have with Simon.

I didn't care for Westcliff that much at first. But when Westcliff tells her off, I started to warm to him. Before that, he was rather cold. But you could see he disliked Annabelle because he didn't really think she deserved Simon. To be frank, I was somewhat agreeing with him. I felt I could like this cold, aristocratic man when he risked his life to save Simon who was socially beneath him and was protective about him against a 'fortune-hunting adventuress,' which was how he saw Annabelle. I felt that Westcliff knew Annabelle pretty well, because in some ways they were of the same mindset and were having to open their minds to the fact that the Old England was changing as the century wound to a close. I liked that they became a united front in their mutual caring for Simon.

It may sound as if I am being harsh about Annabelle. I really like her despite her snobby tendencies. She is a very sweet, kind person, and was good to the other Wallflowers. She has a good sense of humor and was a good daughter. I just tend to be very protective about my favorite heroes. I want their heroine to be completely in love with them, because my favorite heroes are the type who are 110% in love with their heroine. They should be loved to the same intensity. I hate when the feeling is unequal in a romance. I was glad that Annabelle finally came around, although I wished it was a little bit sooner.

This is my second favorite Wallflower (after Devil in Winter) because I loved the fact that Simon was a man who set himself on a course, and never gave up. That course was winning his heroine, Annabelle. I loved the friendship between the four wallflowers, Annabelle, Lillian, Daisy, and my favorite, sweet Evie. You get the impression that the friendship they form will stand the test of time. And you hope they will all meet and marry men worthy of them. Also I loved the late Victorian setting, and how rich the descriptions of this time and the people are in this story. Secrets of a Summer Night is definitely one of my all time favorite Lisa Kleypas novels.

Actors I would cast as Simon and Annabelle: Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale.

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Alp.
736 reviews374 followers
January 8, 2018
What a wonderful story!

This was another gem from one of my favorite authors. As always, Lisa Kleypas never ever fails me. Secrets of A Summer Night had me hooked from the very start, enraptured me in a way that I never imagined, and I found myself having a hard time putting it down.

I loved Simon Hunt! He’s strong, smart, swoon-worthy, and sweet. Yet he could be a bad boy at times. No matter how rich he is, the peers have never accepted him as one of themselves. For the fact that he was born a commoner, a butcher’s son, he knows exactly who he is and never pretends to be someone he’s not. He was attracted to Annabelle since the first time he laid eyes on her and he couldn’t get her out of his mind. Two years later, Annabelle had remained unwed and Simon was more than ready to claim her as his own.

“I’ve wanted you since the first moment I saw you standing outside that panorama, digging for coins in your purse. I couldn’t take my eyes from you. I could hardly believe you were real.”

Annabelle Peyton and her family were in desperate straits. Marrying a wealthy nobleman was the only way for her to save her mother and her brother. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed her character. She’s strong-willed, independent, and smart. Despite her lack of dowry, the way she ignored Simon’s offer was a reflection of the value she placed on herself.

It was so sweet seeing Simon taking care of Annabelle in a time of need. And it was so lovely that their feelings grew stronger and deeper for each other with each moment they shared together. I loved the sizzling chemistry between them and how they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and certainly, the way they kissed. **Melt** Not to mention their steamy hot and passionate sexy times.

“I have no self-control where you’re concerned. Every minute that I’m not with you, all I can think about is being inside you. I hate everything that keeps you separate from me.”

This was a very well-written and heartwarming story with an engaging plot, adorable characters, and breathtakingly beautiful romance. It was hilarious, refreshing, and touching all at the same time. Simon and Annabelle’s love story made my heart swell and the ending brought tears to my eyes. The banter between the 4 wallflowers was witty and true to life.

I don’t want to say much more because this is a book you should read it for yourself.

By the way, this was a very good historical romance story. I was overjoyed that I decided to pick up this one. Loved it!


**Thanks for the buddy read, lovely Ally.
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
531 reviews1,353 followers
January 6, 2021
3 stars

Secrets of a summer night was a good introduction to what I hope would be a great enjoyable series. It’s also, finally, my first Lisa kleypas book!

To be honest I wasn’t like super enjoying it from the beginning because I had a hard time loving Annabelle. I’m sorry I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but think that she’s self-serving and kinda shallow. I couldn’t agree with her ways or most of what she has done. And I don’t like that she kept saying that she’s with Simon because of his money or for the things he will buy for her even as a joke. It just made me uncomfortable specially that I was starting to like Simon by that time.

The beginning was so slow and the book dragged a lot, but despite all of that I still enjoyed Annabelle and Simon fun banter. The chess game scenes. The whole snake bite scene!! The proposal scene! And the whole Wallflowers gang. I already love them and I can’t wait to read Lillian’s book, she already intimidates me with all her schemes and her way of thinking, lol! She’s the kind of heroine I wanna read about!
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,295 reviews1,391 followers
July 20, 2010
First of all, a big fat boot in the rear (to me) for letting this gem languish in the TBR for so long! Why am I so stubborn? So I have drifted away from historicals, but c'mon, this is Kleypas--I should've known better! I've loved so many of her books, and her heroes are some of my all time favorite romance heroes (Zachary Bronson, Jack Devlin, Derek Craven)--now I can add one more to the list--the deliciously sexy Simon Hunt (be still my heart)! I loved this guy! Talk about swoon-worthy! I'm telling you, there was a time or two that I was wondering if Annabelle Peyton had rocks for brains, rebuffing Mr. Hunt--who wants to marry a 'peer' when you can have Simon (even if he was not the 'marrying type')?

I know Annabelle had her mind set on marrying a peer to get out of a horrible financial predicament, and Simon (son of a working class butcher) was anything but. But there was this sizzling attraction, even though she didn't want there to be. This book was just filled with sexual tension, and had me on the edge, just wondering when (and how) Annabelle was going to give in to the temptation that was Simon. So he wasn't a peer, he wasn't the marrying kind, he wasn't in her social class (even though he was filthy rich due to hard work), he wasn't the physical ideal (he was big and brawny and rough looking), and she thought of him as ill-bred...but she couldn't deny the connection that they had. I loved the verbal sparring that they did, loved the whole Scarlett/Rhett vibe, loved how she tried to put him in his place and loved how he came back for more, and wouldn't be denied. He wanted Annabelle and he was going to have her!

What else did I love? Her relationship with the other "Wallflowers". The scenes with the bold Americans Lillian and Daisy Bowman, and the shy, stuttering Evie Jenner were some of my favorite (non-Simon) scenes in the book. It was so funny how they plotted to snag an appropriate husband for Annabelle (not that I approved of their methods--but their conversations were often hilarious)! And their game of 'Rounders' (which sounds like baseball) where they played in their drawers, only to be seen by Lord Westcliff and Simon? So well written--loved the defiance shown by Annabelle and Lillian!

But my favorite scenes were the ones involving Annabelle and Simon. The extended chess game (*sigh*), the tending to Annabelle after the snake bite (*sigh*), the purchase of the boots (*sigh*), and the honeymoon (Yowza!)...and the bit of suspense at the end, and the declaration(s) of love? P-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n.

Oh, I could go on and on, but I'm dying to start "It Happened One Autumn"--I want to see the stuffy Lord Westcliff redeem himself in my eyes. For this first book of The Wallflowers series--5 big stars!

My idea for Simon
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,865 reviews2,240 followers
September 7, 2017
4 stars!

“Having regrets is the only sign that you’ve done anything interesting with your life.”

The first book in the Wallflower series, Secrets of a Summer Night is about Annabelle, a beautiful woman searching for a husband, but her family’s financial troubles prevent this. No man wants to marry a woman with no dowry, but Annabelle must marry soon to prevent her family from being put out on the streets.

Annabelle’s only luck seems to be with Simon Hunt, a man not of the nobility, but one who mad a great deal of money is business. He’s unrefined, blunt and even worse, he does not want Annabelle for his wife but as his mistress.

Befriending three other wallflowers at a ball, they make a pact to help get every single one of them married, and first up is Annabelle as this is her last season to find a husband. They concoct a plan, and hopefully they’re mischievous ways will work!

“I spent most of my youth hauling sides of beef and pork to my father's shop. Carrying you is far more enjoyable."

"How sweet," Annabelle mumbled sickly, her eyes closed. "Every woman dreams of being told that she's preferable to a dead cow.”

Historical romance is not my go to genre, but it’s so fun to dabble in from time to time. Lisa Kleypas is an author I really click with because I don’t end up rolling my eyes at the language or actions of the characters. She does her research really well, and is able to make a smooth transition into whatever time period she places her books in.

I also normally don’t like Cinderella stories, and the rags to riches trope. But I loved Annabelle as a character, she was strong but had morals and pride. Her relationship with Hunt was a hate to love kind of story where over time the two get to know each other and fall in love, rather than love at first sight and it worked for me.

Beautifully written, I cannot wait to read the rest of the Wallflower books (disclaimer I’ve read Devil in Winter and Again the Magic, but I still really want to read the other two books). This book was exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time.

“I'm coming to believe that there are two kinds of people... those who choose to be masters of their own fate and those who wait in chairs while other dance. I would rather be one of the former than the latter.”

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Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,800 followers
June 7, 2016
Finally, FINALLY, a Lisa Kleypas book that I actually like! I'm not broken after all!

I was beginning to think that perhaps I was the only person on earth to hate Lisa Kleypas. I 2-starred both Suddenly You and Somewhere I'll Find You, and I was really ready to just throw in the towel. However, I already owned Secrets of a Summer Night so I figured I would try one more time.


And I'm soooo happy that I gave this one a try.

This was a great story with a complex H and h, a great set of side characters, and a romance that developed slowly over time. Despite some awkwardness between the two MCs at the 80% mark or so, the romance was simply divine.

I think I found the first Kleypas series I can get behind. Here's to hoping the rest of the books in the series will be winners too.

Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,154 followers
January 23, 2022
Awesome narration enhanced the story...

I love this series and was excited to try out the audio version. The narrator, Rosalyn Landor does a fabulous job and I never struggled to decipher which character was talking. This is the first book in the series and my second favourite but only by a smidge. I love the rough around the edges, Simon Hunt. I don't particularly enjoy seeing the class distinction and resulting snobbery.

I will definitely be listening to the rest of the series in the future as this is one of my very favourite historical romances series and Lisa Kleypas is a fantastic author.

Profile Image for Vivian.
460 reviews30 followers
September 22, 2023
5/5 ⭐️ This was such a great read and I loved every minute of it!

Simon fell first and hard. I loved how he chased Annabelle relentlessly. I love it when the hero is the one obsessed and he sure was. She didn’t even like him in the beginning 🤭. She took a little while to admit her feelings for him.

When she was feeling sick and he asked her gently “What’s the matter sweetheart?” I was smiling so hard 🥹❤️.

There was such a beautiful caretaking scene that had me swooning 😭. I loved how Simon took such good care of Annabelle. It was so sweet!

"At the first realization that Annabelle was ill, he had felt his chest turn painfully hollow, as if his heart had been seized for ransom. There had been no question in his mind that he would do whatever was necessary to make her safe and comfortable." 🥹❤️

He also gifted her a pair of boots after seeing that the ones she was using for walking, were inadequate. Ugh. He was so damn sweet. I adored him! I liked Annabelle’s character as well. She was set on marrying for money so that she can take care of her family.

I also loved the friendship between The Wallflowers. Some of their scenes together had me smiling so much. I can’t wait to read their books 😊.

Overall, I really adored this book with all of my heart. The romance was a beautiful slowburn and it was just so heartfelt. It made me feel so giddy and happy. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series!!

“You’re so beautiful,” Simon whispered. “Inside and out. Annabelle, my wife, my sweet love… kiss me again. And don’t stop until I tell you to.” 😭❤️🫶🏻
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,243 followers
August 12, 2015
Historical romances are like my "Chicken Soup for the Soul." They just make me feel better. When my daughter was younger and would get sick and stay home from school, we would watch Pride and Prejudice - in our P.J.'s, with chocolate. And, I'm not talking about the Keira Knightly version - I mean the six-hour A&E Colin Firth one. It took all day, but it was comforting.

mr darcy photo: The Look tumblr_lhwcpaKvhP1qarlf1o1_500.gif
Mr. Darcy makes everything better...

This book is like that. No matter what's going on, it made me smile. The characters are adorable, the humor is great, and the romance is swoon-worthy. Very good chicken soup!
Profile Image for Christina ~ Brunette Reader.
187 reviews313 followers
October 4, 2021

2,5 Stars

Finally getting around this vintage Kleypas. I found it much better written and engaging than her latest historical offerings, which I recently read, though I must also admit I enjoyed Secrets of a Summer Night more as a fun series set-up than for the romance itself.

Long story short, Annabelle Payton is a genteel but destitute beauty who needs to marry for money, quickly. Simon Hunt wants her, he's handsome and now filthy rich, and well-connected into the Ton, but remains a cleaned-up butcher's son, therefore he won't do. No, no and no! *stomps dainty foot*

Oh, conflicts that shouldn't be conflicts, how many innumerable romance books have they spawned?

She must be a manipulative uppity lightskirt because... she just is and is been giving me the cold-shoulder for the last couple of Seasons!! He must be a selfish, unsuitable boor because... reasons!!
Let's see how long it takes her to become desperate enough to accept a "would you be my mistress" proposition. Let's see if I can be the Self-Victimising Queen of the year (1843, by the way).

A little more pragmatism from the heroine's part and a little less cynicism from the hero's and this book would have ended by what, page 50? I understand the need of a plot, and this type of scenario can be a legitimate one as any, but at the same time I've never been fond of storylines where each lead is ready to uncritically assume the worst about the other almost at first sight, so it was hard for me to warm up to both Annabelle and Simon. They eventually come to their senses pretty soon, it's a romance after all, though despite the unconvincing villain sub-thread kicking in to infuse some action, the gist of things seemed to boil down to the basic fact that the heroine had to reconsider her morals and overcome her snobbery about the hero's origins. Meh.

That said, this is still a quite satisfying read, just not as outstanding as I was hoping for. The writing flowed, there were some nice touches of humour and Kleypas's ability to convey the couple's chemistry and sensuality always top rate, if here somehow disjointed from the emotional progression.
The best parts were the scenes involving the secondary characters and their relationship with the protagonists and reading about how the four Wallflowers meet and become a team was really enjoyable. Same goes for Simon's interactions with two future heroes, which also give deeper background information on the "world" the author has created for this series and which sound like very promising material for the following books.
Profile Image for peachygirl.
268 reviews671 followers
January 7, 2019
First things first. Where do I get a guy like Simon Hunt? Preferably without a grouchy, stuck up friend like Westcliff??
The things he does for Annabell even after she treats him like dirt... And the two years wait for a dance *sigh* This guy is the stuff dreams are made of!😍
Profile Image for Mo.
1,363 reviews2 followers
March 5, 2017
I liked this one, a lot. Simon, a self-made man. Born the son of a butcher, he has worked hard to make his money and his place in society. OK, he will never be a nobleman but, honestly, who would want to be. But status matters to some ... and it matters to Annabelle. She needs to marry and marry well. Her family's finances are dwindling fast.

He did not strike her as a trustworthy man ... in fact, for all his elegant clothes and polished appearance, he didn't seem quite civilised.
He was the kind of man that a well-bred woman would never want to be alone with.

I really liked Simon. He wasn't afraid pursue Annabelle and show his feeling for her. This is the first book in a 4 book series. Next up is her "American" friend. That should be interesting.

"It is said that you can never really know someone until you play chess with him."

I suppose there was no real drama in this book, like there was in the last couple of Historicals I read. It was a nice change.

"Every time I see you," he murmured, "I think you couldn't possibly become any more beautiful -- and you always prove me wrong."


Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews586 followers
January 24, 2018
I've put off reading this series for so long and I have no idea why! I read the Hathaway books and thought nothing in the HR world could compare. Was I being a tad too judgmental? Maybe. Am I questioning my fierce love of the Hathaway clan? Hell no! Cam's a delicious bit of man and remains to this day one of my favorite book boyfriends.

That being said, I'm adding Simon Hunt to that list. Tall, dark, brooding and "commanding" in certain areas of his life *ahem*. Oh hell yes! Annabelle was a fantastic match for him and I loved the give and take of their relationship until they finally both (thank you, baby Jesus!) gave in and experienced the wonderful.

Well done again, Ms. Kleypas. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,323 reviews2,146 followers
June 2, 2017
This is my kind of leisure reading, a good historical romance, well written with charming characters and a lot of witty dialogue.
I very much enjoyed the romance between the two main characters and loved the friendship between the four Wallflowers. The story was really entertaining and full of drama. Loved it:)
I am looking forward now to the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Korrie’s Korner.
1,120 reviews13.6k followers
October 13, 2022
5 stars for Annabelle & Simon Hunt’s story!! I literally could not put this one down. I love the banter back and forth, the obvious intrigue, and sexual tension. Annabelle, willing to be a mistress just so she can save her family. This was somewhat of a enemies to lovers type trope, but not entirely.

I love how they chose to love each other, and didn’t fully realize it at first. This book was packed with so much! Humor, angst, steaminess etc.. I feel like I’m fumbling in the dark for words, but all I know is that I LOVED this book hard!

“Let me take care of you. You’ve never had anyone to lean on, have you? I’ve got strong shoulders, Annabelle.” A deep laugh rumbled in his chest. “And I may possibly be the only man of your acquaintance who’ll be able to afford you.”

“Why offer to marry me when you might have me as your mistress?” He nuzzled her throat gently. “Because I realized during the past few days that I can’t leave doubt in anyone’s mind about to whom you belong. Especially not yours.”

Friendship came first. Love came when they least expected it. I loved how this book didn’t have the assumed HEA that you might think. I really enjoy books that allow us to see how a couple deals with married life, and how the choosing to love deepens. Love is a choice, you don’t just fall into it.
Profile Image for Al George.
502 reviews319 followers
October 8, 2019
Never has man trapping been so much fun to read

Big thanks to Alp for the Buddy Read.

Setting / Time / Genre: Regency, England

Length: 384 pages

Series: Yes and I believe but am not entirely certain I have read the other three. Re-read may be in the works.

Sexy times: Light on the sexy sexerson. By my definition, that it.

Plan on reading more by the author: Sure am!

Synopsis in one sentence or slightly more: Annabelle's family is basically destitute and she conspires with her wallflower friends to trap a member of the peer but instead end up with the utterly delectable Simon who is a man of trade (damn, how is that for a run on sentence?).

Heroine: Annabelle. Ok, let us be honest. MANIPULATIVE. And I get it You are broke, dearest Annabelle. But you and your cackling group of friends, were a challenge for me to love. I mean a few of you were awesome. You were ok. Only ok. For the first half of the book. Then you rescued Simon. And you were a little more than ok.

Read the book and you will understand this part:

Hero: Simon. At first, you too filled the only OK shoes. You were an ass, out to trap Miss Annabelle as your mistress. But then, you became awesome. A hero. Calm in the face of the storm. You became delicious. Read this book for Simon if nothing else.

Why it did or didn't work for me: I do not do well reading about manipulative women. It's distasteful. Annabelle never really became a heroine I would be interested in reading about nor one I liked. Even after her rescue. I found her more than a little vapid. Nothing kills a book faster, you know?

Try Evie's book. I recall that I liked that one.
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,548 reviews4,576 followers
October 14, 2019
Re-read 10/8/19

Original read/review Jan'2010:

5+ stars – Historical Romance

This is a great start to a fun, dazzlingly romantic series about four young ladies with very different personalities and backgrounds entering society who form a deep bond of friendship that grounds them as they traverse the rocky course of relationships and husband hunting in stuffy Victorian era England.

Beautiful Annabelle Peyton is determined to find a wealthy suitor with a high position in society to wed in order to save her family from financial ruin. Simon Hunt is a commoner with a self-made empire of vast wealth and power who infuriates and tempts her at every turn. He makes it clear that although he wants to be the one to introduce Annabelle to the wonders of passion, he won’t offer her marriage. Of course, it doesn’t take long before he falls hard for Annabelle, but can Simon and her friends, the wallflowers, convince her to take a chance on a love match?

Simon is such a butter-melting, swoon-worthy, amazing, romantic, and devoted hero...just yum! It’s a wonderful start to a truly amazing series! Big 5 stars!
Profile Image for edith (semi-hiatus).
54 reviews33 followers
June 7, 2023

Jesus, everything about this was just perfect... Simon was just, ughhh😍
I was hyperventilating while reading this, it got my face red and my blood hot.

“Let me take care of you. You’ve never had anyone to lean on, have you? I’ve got strong shoulders, Annabelle.”

Now, don't get me wrong... He was cute, sweet and a proper gentleman but at the same time he was crazy possessive and unhinged. I loved his subtle lunatic nature😌
It wasn't in your face but you could tell this man would do EVERYTHING for his wife.

Selfishly, Simon was not sorry for her financial hardship—it created an opportunity that he never would have had otherwise.


“I mean that I will afflict the most acute kind of pain, mental, physical, and financial, on the first man who dares to trespass on my territory."

I had an heart attack reading this.

"I can’t feel this way… it’s too strong… oh, hell. I’ll turn into a raving lunatic. I’ll never be of use to anyone again. If I could just reduce it somehow…love you only half this much…I might be able to live with it.”

Oh please, give me ALL your love Simon, I don't mind.🌚
Profile Image for Sammy Loves Books.
1,133 reviews1,462 followers
December 22, 2019
4.0 "Island of the Misfits " stars

What a wonderful start to the series! A group of wallflower misfits make a pact to help each other snag husbands. I love how each member has one a major flaw that makes them an unsuitable bride.



Annabelle is beautiful but dirt poor. While men crave her beauty, they have no desire to marry a poor wife...They can just wait until she is desperate enough to agree to being their mistress.

Simon Hunt

Simon Hunt is disgustingly rich and has decided that Annabelle will make the perfect mistress. But as he pursues her, he starts to realize that being his mistress will never be enough. He desires to possess her in every way!

This was a 3.5 star rounded up to a 4 star. I loved the introduction to all the new characters and can't wait for Lilian and Westcliff's book. Also loved that this is in the same world with members from the Ravenels series.
Profile Image for Lea.
473 reviews74 followers
June 17, 2017
This book made me so mad.

On the one hand, we have Annabelle, an impoverished gentlewoman of 25, who needs to marry advantageously in order to support herself, her widowed mother and her little brother. In fact they are SO poor, her mother is prostituting herself in order to pay the family's bills, and if Annabelle doesn't find a husband in the last few weeks of the season, she will most likely be forced into a life of prostitution herself, as a rich man's "mistress".

Now, logic would dictate that Annabelle needs a well-off husband. Since the choice is marriage or prostitution, any reasonably well-off husband should do, correct? But no. She is determined to marry a PEER, nevermind the fact that peers are not necessarily rich, because "in England you're only somebody if you're married to a peer" and she just couldn't bear to not be invited for tea with the aristocracy. She refuses to entertain the possibility of even meeting her American friends' 3 filthy rich, eligible brothers because they aren't nobles and she "wouldn't like to live in New York".

EXCUSE ME, did you miss the fact that your mother is selling her body while you're dilly-dallying around balls trying to catch a peer?

Maybe I have too much common sense to be a heroine in a romance novel but in her position, I wouldn't think my choices in husband were "DUKE" or "NOTHING". Considering she doesn't even have a dowry, I would just marry the first respectable guy with a solid income I could find! A businessman, a trader, a farmer... who cares if you're not gonna have tea with some Countess! at least you don't have to be a freaking PROSTITUTE!!!!

And then we have Simon, of course. He is a gazillionaire apparently, but a butcher's son, so, decidedly not on Annabelle's list of people she would consider marrying. He does take a decided interest on her, however. But not because he wants to convince her to marry him, no.

He's just circling her like a damn vulture, waiting for her time and money to run out so she'll be desperate enough to start selling her body, and then he'll swoop in with a nice offer for her to be his prostitute, I mean, "mistress".

He makes a series of increasingly vulgar remarks like "soon you won't be in a position to turn down an offer from me, respectable or otherwise", which culminate in a particularly off-putting scene in the 55% mark where he just straight up decides that she is for sale and tells her to just say how much she wants for sex because he doesn't feel like waiting anymore and her feelings on the matter are pretty much irrelevant.

Well I'll tell you what, I don't think my standards are unreasonably high when I say that I prefer romance heroes who AREN'T JOHNS and don't treat women as OBJECTS.

DNF at 55%.

Eta: actually the more I think about this book the less sense it makes. Technically, Annabelle didn't even need a husband - just money, which she could get from a job. She had the perfect opportunity: she was friends with two filthy rich, extremely open-handed American girls, who desperately needed lessons in manners and British etiquette. She could have tutored the Bowmans for a respectable pay, thus taking care of her solvency problem and buying her more time on the marriage mart.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,357 reviews168 followers
September 9, 2015
Written April 5, 2015

4 Stars - Charming, steamy and much chuckling fun. These determined 'Wallflowers' are women to admire

Yet another amusing 'Wallflowers' HR as audiobook (11 hrs) narrated by always excellent Rosalyn Landor. (You get this one for just $7 incl. the e-book / kindle at Amazon right now.)

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Well done, well narrated, very entertaining HR
I liked the of many readers so much beloved Devil in Winter (#3 - 3.9 stars) some weeks ago and this series instalment was just as well written, funny and filled with interesting characters. Looking forward to read about the American sisters and their way to love soon too.


London, 1843

Secrets of a Summer Night is the first 'Wallflowers' part and it is about the beautiful Annabelle Peyton. A 25 years old woman in a urgent need of a (rich) suitable husband. She has tried in several seasons to find a match to 'save' her mother and younger brother. But without wealth, assets, other than a pretty face, in her bride coffin it is quite hopeless.

Mr. Simon Hunt is a new player in the ballrooms that has an "good eye" (an lust..) for Annabelle. Once was Simon just the local butcher’s son but is by now both very wealthy and powerful. Nevertheless maybe not the "right" kind of admirer for a well born young lady like Annabelle. In her opinion anyway.
‘What was she doing? Continuing this game, maintaining even this fragile communication with him, was pointless. No …it was dangerous. There was no choice to be made between safety and disaster.’


What I maybe like most about this book is that our heroine here isn't always a good & nice girl. Annabelle is both pretty self-absorbed and indeed selfish. Well not always, sure she cares about her mother, brother and girlfriends (these interesting three other Wallflowers) but she also has some narrow-minded preconceptions, she often look down on others and are incredibly snobby when it comes to social class and the nobility. Though it's fun, I actually like the privilege to avoid having to face another admirable good-hearted young historical heroine occasionally.

Thus said, so fits course this little rougher, harder and cynical "working class" hero, Simon Hunt, her perfectly. They are like two confused magnets that lost each other and yet still not understood it.
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‘Annabelle could hardly fail to note the differences between them. Hunt looked positively swarthy in the gathering dusk, big and potently masculine, with the eyes of a pirate and the casually ruthless air of a pagan king. He was no less arrogant than he had ever been…no tamer, no more refined…and yet somehow he had become the object of such all- consuming desire that Annabelle was certain she had lost her mind.’

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Was it really that bad back in 1840s?
Another common beliefs in this particular historical, that really surprises me, is that the men here seem to think it is completely cool to wait out attractive women as 'poor' Annabelle until they were irremediable spinsters. Then they could be bought cheaply as dependent mistresses (sex-slaves) at a more convenient way than as spouses. The strong women's rights part in me wanted to scream and yell. ~ Ugh, for cold-hearted self-righteous men.

Thanksgod Mr Hunt was a true gentleman, surprisingly but he did the 'right' thing, in the end.


Ms Kleypas is maybe not my absolute number #1 favorite in this HR genre but her books are nevertheless amusing and very steamy stories. There will be many more.
“Having regrets is the only sign that you’ve done anything interesting with your life.”

I LIKE - good historical romances in my headphones
Profile Image for Inna.
1,452 reviews248 followers
September 13, 2022
Third read 9/13/2022: Still 5 stars b/c I still I love this book. It’s beautifully written and even on the third read, my heart feels happy after finishing. I even shed a few tears again. I wish LK would go back to writing books like this, with depth, angst, and a slower burn. I can do without all the constant mentions (in her Hathaways and Ravenels series) of how many women the hero has been with or them reminiscing about their past conquests. Her incessant need to include unneeded descriptions really detracts from the story for me. This book had none of that bull, and it was more enjoyable for it. Also, the hero of this book was ready to marry the heroine even thinking that she wasn’t a virgin. It made his love for her seem so much more substantial. He actually valued her and not just her chastity.

Also, if you’re going to read this book, try to find the original version. Kleypas cut a lot of this book in her newest release and it really seemed lacking in some parts. For example, she cut the prologue entirely and spliced together other portions to remove details that I personally think added positively to the story. In my second reread review I mentioned that there were slow parts. Well those are gone now, and but with them goes a lot of the nuance and smaller details that I think were needed. She cut approx 23% of the story. 😒

Safe; virgin heroine, non manwhore hero with past barely mentioned, no scenes with om/ow, no cheating, no ow drama, some om drama because heroine needs to marry and pursues om with intent to get him to the alter, there is also a lecherous older man who her mother is forced into a noncon sexual relationship with, and he makes some passes at the heroine as well.

Second read 6/22/2020
I love this book! Giving it 5 stars this go around because I just haven’t read a historical romance that is comparable to it (and likely the series) recently. I’ve been reading the Hathaways series and have been underwhelmed... so I decided to go back to this and see if I still liked it as much now as before. And wow! I wasn’t wrong. I love the hero, Simon Hunt. He’s fantastic; everything a man should be. The book does have a few slow parts, but they are worth the read because the ending is so damn good. I laughed, I cried, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside... I can’t wait to go on to the next book. Safe with possibly the exception that the h is a virgin & the h’s mother is forced to basically prostitute herself for money (which is indeed very much rape, but it’s off page and not described in detail).

Original Review:

4.75 stars. I really liked this book - especially the last 30% or so. There were some parts that moved slowly but the ending was def worth the read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Daniella.
256 reviews543 followers
November 30, 2015
An impoverished heroine who does not know what she wants. A determined hero who wants her... as a mistress. A psychotic son-of-a-bitch who lusts after the heroine and is sleeping with the heroine's mother. (WTF!!!!) Debates about how men were superior to women. Drama about belonging to a lower class. And a predictable ending.

Yeah, in short, this book was barely okay. There was virtually no character development, man. I did not like the hero, the heroine and most of the characters here (except for Evie and Daisy; I only liked Lillian when she's giving Marcus a well-deserved setdown). Ugh.
Profile Image for rasa.
213 reviews269 followers
August 12, 2023

This is LK at her best and easily my favorite book by her, if not one of my favorite historicals EVER. it was absolutely everything I could ever want in a romance

And Simon Hunt ? He was just my kind of hero and perfect in every possible way. I'm not ashamed to admit that if I were Annabelle I would've immediately folded over his mistress proposal and let him use and spoil me 🤸🏻🤸🏻🧎🏻‍♀️
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